Staios goes from chair to a seat in Leafs’ front office.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.

Steve Staios, the newest member of the Leafs’ management team, played 1001 NHL games.

Steve Staios remembers the chair.

“I was seven years old, living in Hamilton and a coach asked if I wanted to play hockey,” said the newest member of the Leafs management team.

Soccer was the sport in the Staios household. Staios was a first-generation Canadian born to Macedonian parents who lived above and operated a convenience store in Hamilton’s Westdale neighborhood.

“I had to have a cousin show me how the equipment went on,” he said.

While the other kids where wheeling around the rink, Staios struggled to stand up. Finally he was given a chair to push while the other kids practiced.

Staios  was humiliated. “I came home and told my parents I never wanted to go back but I did. The next week I fell a little less. The next week a little less.”

Staios  had embarked on a journey that would take him to junior hockey in Niagara Falls and Sudbury. Drafted by St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 1991 draft (Eric Lindros, the first overall pick generated a bit more buzz), Staios  never played a game for the Blues. He would play 168 minor league games before being called up to the NHL to play his first NHL game  beside Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.

The Bruins won that game 3-0. The next game Mark Messier blew by Staios and scored.  The kid from Hamilton had seen the summit and valleys within two games. For the rest of his career Staios would work to maximize a good but not great skill set.

Staios spent two seasons in Vancouver, three in Atlanta where he was named captain, seven in Edmonton and two more with Calgary. He played his 1001st and final game last season with the New York Islanders as a 38-year-old.

Leafs GM Brian Burke approached Staios  this spring and asked him to join the management team as a player development advisor. An opening arose in the management group when Rick Dudley left to take a job as the assistant GM of the Montreal Canadiens.

“Usually I insist that a player spends a year outside the game before hiring him but I made an exception with Steve because he was such a good candidate,” Burke said recently.

“I learned during the lockout that I wasn’t very good at being idle,” said Staios. “I was fortunate to be able to move right into this position. One thing I could bring to the job was a pretty good knowledge of the league.”

Staios will work with prospects and players under contract as well as provide scouting input on current NHLers.

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.



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